This is a WWII beret of the Italian San Marco Batallion / Battaglione San Marco.
These were Italy’s elite marines that are particularly known for their actions in the Africa campaign.
Extremely rare to find. Im not aware of another!!!
A little background from Wikipedia:
At the beginning of the Second World War the San marco Regiment became a two battalion regiment and later increased in size, and prepared for amphibious landings at Cape Martin in France which never happened. When Italy attacked Yugoslavia in April 1941, the San Marco Marines carried out successful landings on several islands in the Adriatic and seized ports against minimal resistance. The regiment expanded to seven battalions before the final desert battles in 1943, including the Battaglione Nuotatori who were trained as parachutists in 1941. The 3rd Battalion of the ‘San Marco’ Regiment, which became known as the Tobruk battalion, repelled landings by British Commandos at Tobruk during the night of 13/14 September 1942, in the course of the botched Operation Agreement. As a result, 200 British Commandos were taken prisoner.
The regiment fought at Tobruk and Tunisia, where it defended the Mareth line during April and May 1943. The Tobruk Battalion was later destroyed on the night of 5 April 1943 while defending the Oidane-el-Hachana line against an attack on Wadi Akarit by the British 69th Infantry Brigade and Gurkha units from the Indian Army 4th Infantry Division.
“When we were about ten yards away we had reached the top of the slit trench and we killed any of the survivors,” recalled British infantryman Bill Cheall, who had just seen his section leader shot down by a San Marco Marine. “It was no time for pussy footing, we were intoxicated with rage and had to kill them to pay for our fallen pal.”
The Italian Marines, well dug-in and plentifully supplied with automatic weapons and grenades, fought well, and casualties among the 6th Green Howards were severe; two senior officers, six senior NCO’s and junior officers and one hundred and eighteen other ranks killed.
German General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim later said of the San Marco Marines fighting abilities in Tunisia in 1943, that they were “the best soldiers I ever commanded”.
Following the Italian surrender in 1943, many San Marco marines fought for the Allies against the Germans, however the 4th (Caorle) Battalion fought for the Axis until the end of the war.